The Roots team with Ice Cube to cover N.W.A.'s ‘Straight Outta Compton’ on Jimmy Fallon

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There are a number of aspects of the above clip of the Roots, Ice Cube* and MC Ren covering N.W.A.'s epochal ‘Straight Outta Compton’ that make it an instant classic. They did it as a warmup on Jimmy Fallon’s show the other night, and ?uestlove of the Roots uploaded it.

First, well ... just listen to it: Tight, tough and spontaneous; as with most of the Roots’ hip-hop adaptations, they transform what was once a purely studio creation into something organic and true. Second: Finally, the tuba takes its rightful place in the track. We knew something was missing. Turns out it was the tuba. Third: Ice Cube is perfect (and is that really MC Ren?) Fourth: They do the whole thing without uttering a single one of the thousand cuss words in the original; dodging that many bullets is a pretty amazing feat. Fifth: ?uestlove on the drums.

(And, no, you can’t really hear the tuba. But that it’s there in the shot bouncing around is more than enough.)

*Note: the original version of this post contained a typo in the first mention of Ice Cube’s participation, which we corrected.

-- Randall Roberts